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February 5, 1999


For More Information

Colleen Dermody
ext. 370


George Hacker
ext. 343


Treasury Department Efforts to Deter Underage Drinking Lauded, New Labeling for Wine Criticized by CSPI

WASHINGTON - The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) today lauded the Treasury Department's proposal to prohibit alcoholic-beverage containers that masquerade as soft drinks or frozen desserts, especially those that are attractive to children. CSPI also applauded the department's apparent newfound interest in possibly requiring warning notices in ads.

On the other hand, CSPI criticized the decision to allow wine makers to put labels on bottles that might mislead some consumers about the health effects of alcohol.

"We're disappointed that the Treasury Department has approved two 'health effects' statements for wine labels. Some consumers may interpret 'health effect' as 'health benefit' and end up drinking more wine than they should."

While modest amounts of alcohol may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in some people, alcohol remains the third leading cause of death in the United States. Alcoholic beverages can cause cancers of the breast, mouth, throat, liver and colon; liver cirrhosis; and hemorrhagic stroke. Alcohol also causes birth defects.

CSPI continues to recommend that people who consume alcohol limit their consumption to one, or two at most, drinks per day.


CSPI is a nonprofit health-advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on food safety and alcoholic-beverage issues. It is largely supported by the more than one million subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI led efforts to win passage of the law requiring warning labels on alcoholic beverages.